Monday, March 3, 2014

Teaching with Rattan Reed

On October 23, 2012,  I posted about the shortage in our normal weaving materials in Rattan Shortage
Since then, it hasn't improved much, to which I can attest from just returning from teaching in Ohio and now preparing kits to teach in Port Orchard, Washington.  I'm aghast at how much wastage I find in a pound of reed.  We truly have been spoiled in the past with well-prepared, readily available,  inexpensive materials.

Char Ciammaichella's March newsletter details some of these issues well.  (Char's website is
As you all know there is a shortage of some reed and the prices have more than doubled this last year.  As a teacher there are many more issues that weavers may not be aware of.  Of course if you have bought reed or taken a class you are very aware! Below are some issues that have to be taken into account as a teacher and on the receiving end, as students.  Please, just have patience as we all deal with these issues!!  (We have to take what we can get at this point.)

·        It started with not being able to get smaller sizes of reed. Such as ¼”, and 3/16”, both flat and flat oval. 
·        When you do get ¼” flat or flat oval, many times it’s closer to 3/16” than it is to the ¼” it should be.  When teaching a basket with many ¼” spokes, this makes a difference in base spokes.  As a teacher, you may have to add spokes to the pattern.  This is fine unless it is a twill and the numbers added has to work with the twill!!
·        The ½” looks like 3/8” and the 3/8” looks like ½”!!  Again, patience as we figure this all out!
·        Sometimes there is variation in sizes throughout 1 hank of reed.
·        Some reed it so brittle it breaks when just trying to coil it up for kits.  
·        Some reed is so thick you can’t weave with it.  If in a class, ask for new pieces!  I try to weed out these pieces but I do miss some!  If it is your first few rows, pick out the most flexible to start with.
·        The top layer of the larger flat oval reed used for rims tends to split.  I have been throwing away a lot of ½” and 5/8” flat oval.

I’m sure there is more than what I am mentioning here but I don’t know a teacher out there who will not try to make your weaving experience a fun, pleasant experience.

 Let’s hope many of these quality issues are worked out soon and we can all get back to weaving as we like.  Again, just have patience as teachers deal with these issues for you during classes.

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